What Advice Do You Have For Me?

Kara Powell

I’m thoroughly enjoying Chuck Bomar’s new book, Worlds Apart:  Understanding the Mindset and Values of 18-25 Year Olds.  Chuck is a friend of mine and I’ve learned from his expertise in ministering to college-aged people.

I was especially struck by Chuck’s advice to adults who want to mentor and invest in emerging adults.  While that’s an important step in building Sticky Faith in adolescents and college students, Chuck brings an important twist to the process.

So often we approach these relationships assuming that we have the answers, or that the younger person can learn from our example and lifestyle.  While that’s true, Chuck also invites mentors to practice humility.  He encourages, “Try starting a conversation by asking a college-aged person her thoughts about where you are in life…Ask what she thinks about the life you live, the direction you took, and how she would do it differently.  Starting here, from my experience, is far more effective than us only telling our thoughts about their lives.”

I love this, but even as I include it in this blog, I realize that it takes courage and non-defensiveness to ask these sorts of questions.  I need to be open to their advice about what I should have done differently.   Or even more scary, what I should be doing differently NOW.  But I think these sorts of dialogues will create the type of relationships we want with the emerging adults in our lives—ones that are full of authenticity and honesty.

Published Sep 13, 2011
Kara Powell

Kara Powell, PhD, is the Executive Director of the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI) and a faculty member at Fuller Theological Seminary. As a youth ministry veteran of over 20 years, she serves as an Advisor to Youth Specialties. Named by Christianity Today as one of "50 Women You Should Know", Kara is the author or co-author of a number of books including Sticky Faith, Essential Leadership, Deep Justice Journeys, Deep Justice in a Broken World, Deep Ministry in a Shallow World, and the Good Sex Youth Ministry Curriculum.

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